Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Button Up!

OK, we're in the midst of a blizzard back here in Connecticut.   Looking out at the swirling snow as it piles up on bushes and paths and up against the fence just makes me want to burrow deeper into my coat.  "Button up!" as our mothers would say when we went out in cold weather as children.  I had some clay just sitting there in front of me, so found myself fashioning a little button front jacket complete with black ruffled ribbing around the neck and cuffs.

Of course, this led to thoughts of simple earrings "buttoned up" in the some of the muted and slightly "off" colors of Gucci winter fashions.  I used some pearl-based colors with geometric designs I had for these first pairs:

Then I made some using a couple of Skinner blends.  The blends were a bit too subtle and don't really show well, but these will go well with different outfits.  The mustard pair is missing a button - on purpose!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

"Fanned" Pendants

As I mentioned at the end of the last post,  I also planned to make a couple pendants with the fanned process.

When I sat down to work on the pendants, I realized there were a couple of things that needed special attention. One was a way to combine mirror images of the fanned shapes.  I ended up making a backing sheet that held all the pieces together and made each piece stronger.

 The other thing I needed to consider was how to attach the pendants to a chain of some sort.  I decided to insert eye screws as a place for chain attachment on the 2 red pieces.

On the turquoise piece, I inserted jump ring hoops into the back of the piece and, after baking, passed a black neck wire through the hoops.   Adding findings is, for some reason, my least favorite aspect of the process, so I was pleased that these pieces had relatively straight forward solutions.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fanning Out

A couple of years ago, I was playing with some scraps of clay at a workshop, and developed a piece that was composed of cut outs using the same shape, just differing sizes.  I've been meaning to get back to this particular idea, and finally did.  Today's post shows you a few pairs of earrings I made using what I call "fanning out".
I started with sheets of clay, some in Skinner blends, then I textured them.  I cut out the shapes with an exacto knife.  As you can see in the photos of these earring sets, each different shape was cut out in 3 or more sizes and then the shapes were layered and "fanned" out.  Hence, the name "Fanning Out."

After making some of the earrings with my usual ear wires, I decided to make some with posts.  This required adding an extra piece at the top of the fanned design so the ear posts had a location for attachment.

The last pair on this page shows another version of post earrings in a fanning that displays the Skinner blend well.

P.S. Pendants coming soon....

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Yipes - Stripes!

I'm not sure why, but I don't usually do a lot of things in stripes. I was inspired to give stripes a try when I sat across from Anita, of Anita K Designs, at the Mammoth Cave Retreat.  She was using long bolts to make texture on striped slices, and I really liked the way they looked.
On the first pieces I made, I passed the striped clay through the pasta machine multiple times, with the result that the lines between the stripes were softened.  I think these softer stripes are pretty.  However, I tried using the bolts to make the waffle design on these soft stripes, and realized I was not getting the crisp look I wanted.

The next striped pieces I made were passed through the pasta machine just once to seal the joints between the colored stripes.    Since the bolt ridges only run in one direction, each piece is rolled twice, once each in perpendicular directions.  The clay does move a bit while being rolled, which I think adds to the interest of the sheets.

These photos show how the impressed lines from the long bolts made a nice waffle texture and emphasized the stripes.